One-car Cup teams not viable

NASCAR is not fulfilling their duties to team-owners, drivers and faithful fans. More competition needed on the track, not new rules.

Officials are looking into the suggestions of drivers to alter the way cars handle to better control how multi-car teams dominate the action on the track.

Only six teams sport one driver this year. One of the most notable drivers returning full-time to drive in Cup is A.J. Allmendinger. He will drive the No. 47 Chevy for JTG Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger has a three-year deal with the team, and drove five races for it in 2013.

Other single-car teams competing in 2014 will be: No. 13 Casey Mears for Germain Racing, No. 34 David Ragan in the Front Row Motorsports Ford, David Gilliland in the No. 38 Ford for Frankie Kerr, Justin Allgaier in the Harry Scott No. 51 (Allgaier will be competing for Rookie of the Year) and the No. 98 Ford with Josh Wise in the seat for Phil Parsons Racing. Each of these smaller teams is finalizing deals for a full or partial schedule in the Cup series. Some have affiliations with larger teams using the same manufacturer.

Smaller teams were the backbone of the sport from the early 60’s until the late 70’s. The first multi-car team was started by Carl Kiekhaefer in 1955. Using Tim Flock and Buck Baker, his team won 52 races that year, including 16 races in a row. He was out of the sport in 1957 on rumors of cheating by having more than one car on the track. Now there are super teams in the sport with top talent behind the wheel and sponsors on the hood and decklid.

These drivers and teams set a pace so high it is nearly impossible for lower budgeted teams to run up front. The smaller teams run for funds to pay bills and to make the next race on the schedule.

NASCAR fans could see the smaller teams fall out of the sport due to the new qualifying format set by officials starting this year.

Richard “The King” Petty spoke out about the new format as just a “PR deal.” Petty feels, “top drivers will find a way to the front no matter what the situation will be on the track.” One area that drivers are speculating changes may help the sport is in tire traction and handling. Carl Edwards and 2012 Cup Champion Brad Keselowski say, “the looser a car is on the track ultimately the tighter the racing.”

This type of racing will appeal to fans either watching at the track or television. Both markets have seen diminishing dollars over the past 10 years.

NASCAR will be signing a new billion dollar television contract in the upcoming months, but with no guarantee viewership will increase.

  • IN NEED OF MONEY: Rick Henderick is searching for a sponsor to fill out the schedule on the No. 88 car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard returns and will be Earnhardt’s sponsor for 20 races. PepsiCos brands will serve as a primary sponsor for six races. The team has spoken to multiple companies but wants a long-term deal that fits its plan.

Contact Eddie Thomas at ethomas@newsandsentinel.com